The Gearage: Norda 002

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Cody Jett in a red jacket and running clothes after finishing a race, holding hands up smiling.

By: Cody Jett

Cody Jett is our East Coast (or, more accurately, Beast Coast) contributor. Cody lives outside of Philadelphia, PA with his wife and two kids. When Cody is not working or spending time with family, he enjoys trail documentaries, his Phillies, and checking out new gnarly trails.

You can find the Gearage podcast on YouTube and wherever you listen to podcasts.  Interested in trying a pair for yourself – bop on over to grab a pair!

Norda made a big splash in the running community with the introduction of the Norda 001 – a trail shoe that seamlessly merged durability for long trail days with a pleasing aesthetic appeal, as well as a high price tag. Norda seemed to have successfully bridged the worlds of running and fashion. Norda proved that style and substance could coexist without compromising on the quality of the shoe. Following the success of the Norda 001, the anticipation for the Norda 002 grew, prompting the question: Is the 002 another high-performing gem, or does it fall prey to the notion that sequels are never as good as the original? Read on to find out.

The Norda 002

Total Miles: 38

The Good:

  • Technical Terrain – The Norda 002 is made for tackling technical, gnarly unforgiving terrain. Its Vibram outsole, combined with a lower stack height positions it as an ideal choice for traversing the most challenging and rugged trails. While the lower stack was originally a concern of mine, I can happily confirm the shoe’s lower profile doesn’t compromise on performance. The lower stack enhances the ground feel which provides an impressive level of stability and agility necessary for navigating the most formidable  terrains. 
  • Upper –  The seamless Bio-Dyneema upper stands out for its exceptional comfort, impeccable lockdown, and remarkable durability. Dyneema technology is a key component of this shoe, one of the toughest and most resilient materials I’ve encountered in an upper. Even after enduring extensive miles across challenging terrain characterized by rain, rocks, and mud, this material shows no signs of wear and tear. The upper on the 002 is, simply put, built with the right stuff.
  •  Fast – The Norda 002 displays a sense of agility and speed while navigating trails, thanks to its lower stack and the dependable Vibram outsole. This combination facilitates an easy engagement with the terrain, empowering me to push the pace comfortably. Surprisingly, I found myself effortlessly cruising at low 7 to high 6-minute mile paces. Normally, on technical descents, my pace tends to slow due to concerns about my shoe’s capability or my own technical skill. However, with the Norda 002, that anxiety was non-existent. I felt secure, enabling me to confidently charge down the trails without the fear of twisting an ankle or encountering any mishaps.
  • Looks – While the performance of a running shoe is undoubtedly crucial, there’s no denying the impact of aesthetics. The Norda 002, with its remarkable blend of simplicity and style, manages to strike the perfect balance. Not only does it deliver on functionality and comfort, but the sleek design also adds an extra layer of appeal.
The Norda 002

The Bad:

  • Price – While I love running in the Norda 002, I would be remiss if I did not mention the price of the shoe is steep. While the 002 can go the distance and might be one of the most durable shoes, $295 is going to hurt your runner’s soul and your wallet. 
  • Stack Height – The minimal stack height of this shoe might not be suitable for everyone, especially if you don’t have exceptionally tough feet. It gives off the impression of being more fitting for distances up to a 50-kilometer race. Although the Vibram midsole delivers speed, responsiveness, and a springy feel, the 19mm heel stack is not a lot. Prior to purchasing, it’s essential to consider whether this shoe setup aligns with your comfort and performance preferences, particularly if you prefer more cushioned or higher-profile footwear for extended running endeavors.
The Norda 002

The Pro:

“The 002 makes for a great option during my training runs as a lightweight, responsive shoe that I can feel confident with on the trails. The shoe’s grip, support, and lightness make it so diverse – from being agile on technical terrain to flowing through some fast flowing single track. I’d recommend this shoe for anything from training runs to a 100km trail race.” – Norda 665 member Priscilla Forgie

“The 002s are my go to technical mountain shoe! Fantastic grip and really great ground feel for fast mountain running. I also really like them for speed work midweek. I ran CCC in them, and some of my teammates were dubious of my choice 😂, but even for 100-kilometer I really had fun in them. But overall I would say 50-mile and lower is prime for the 002s. The ankle collar is such a great update, and is another reason why I love them for loose Rocky mountain running” – Norda 665 member Rich Lockwood

The Verdict:

The Norda 002 has quickly become my go-to technical trail shoe, solidifying its place as a must-have for those tackling challenging terrain. If you’re in the market for a shoe that excels on rugged trails and you’re comfortable with a minimal stack height, this is a definite buy. While the price tag might give you pause, it’s worth noting that the Norda 002 offers exceptional durability. You can expect to log well over 500 miles in a single pair, if not more. This longevity makes it a worthwhile investment for trail runners seeking a reliable and long-lasting companion on their adventures.

The Norda 002

*** Disclaimer – The Norda 002 was provided by Norda for review. Norda did not pay for this review, all opinions are our own.***

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